How long do I have to wait to file bankruptcy again?
It depends on the type of bankruptcy you filed, whether you received a discharge in the bankruptcy and the type of bankruptcy you want to file now. A list of times between different filings follows:
What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A bankruptcy discharge is a court order that “releases the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts.” Discharge occurs when the Bankruptcy Court enters its order granting the discharge. In other words, discharge is the part of the bankruptcy case where your debts that are eligible for discharge are wiped out and you no longer owe them.
Can I file a Chapter 7 before 8 years?
If you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and were granted a discharge, you cannot file and expect to get another discharge for eight years. This eight year time period starts to run from the date of the filing of the earlier bankruptcy, not the date of the discharge. See 11 U.S.C. § 727
How soon can you file Chapter 13 after Chapter 7?
If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can file a Chapter 13 four years after the date of filing the Chapter 7 and still get a discharge. See 11 U.S.C. § 1328
How long after filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can I file a Chapter 7?
If you received a discharge under Chapter 13 the time limit for filing a Chapter 7 and still being eligible to receive a discharge is six years. This time limit does not apply if you paid at least seventy percent of your unsecured debts in the prior Chapter 13 case and your bankruptcy is filed in good faith. See 11 U.S.C. § 727
How soon can you file Chapter 13 after Chapter 13?
If you received a discharge under a Chapter 13 you can file again within two years of the date of filing. Since Chapter 13 bankruptcies last between three and five years, this effectively means you can file again immediately after a Chapter 13 discharge and get another discharge after the newly filed plan is complete. See 11 U.S.C. § 1328
What if my prior case was dismissed?
Typically we are able to file bankruptcy cases for individuals whose prior case was dismissed before they received a discharge. There are some circumstances where you might be prevented from re-filing for a certain period of time.
Generally speaking, individuals are prevented from filing for bankruptcy protection if they have had a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy dismissed within the last 180 days because of either a violation of a court order in the prior bankruptcy or that individual requested the dismissal after a creditor asked for relief from the automatic stay.
You might also have prohibitions against re-filing set out in the order dismissing your last case. You can find more information about re-filing a Chapter 13 after dismissal here. We can help you determine whether you are eligible to re-file and get the process started for you.
Are there times that someone may want to file even though the time limits prevent them from getting a discharge?
Yes. A debtor may want to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to help with debts that were not eligible for discharge in the prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy such as student loans or tax debts. Doing so can offer protection from the collection actions of creditors while payments are made through the Chapter 13 plan on these difficult debts. This is sometimes referred to as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy and can sometimes provide more relief than filing a Chapter 7 alone.
Whether you received a discharge in your last case or not, I can help you determine whether you are eligible to file again.
If you are concerned that you may not be able to file for bankruptcy protection because you have filed in the past, please contact me to discuss your specific situation. Even if you have concerns about the time limits, there is almost always be some type of bankruptcy relief available. To schedule an initial free and confidential consultation to discuss your particular situation call 601-853-9966.